TAMPA — The Storm's season got off to a rough start Saturday, a 69-58 loss at Tulsa in the Talons' first Arena Football League game. Needless to say, Storm coach Tim Marcum wasn't pleased.
"We didn't play very well, didn't execute very well," he said.
The Storm has to wait another week for a chance at redemption. It has a bye this week before facing Dallas in the home opener April 16 at the St. Pete Times Forum.
"You don't ever want (the bye) after a (bad loss)," Marcum said. "We're going to have that bad taste in our mouth until then."
Marcum said the game turned on the Storm's first possession of the second half. Trailing by two, Tampa Bay was unable to score, and the Talons responded with a touchdown to open a nine-point lead they never relinquished.
"We didn't score there, and that was the turning point," Marcum said. "We had a chance to put the pressure on them, and we didn't. That's what it boiled down to."
Weatherford makes a splash: Backup QB Drew Weatherford made quite an impression against the Talons, but not under center. He was part of the kickoff coverage unit and contributed on several plays. After watching game film, Marcum credited Weatherford, who played some linebacker and safety at Land O'Lakes High, with four stops, including a solid open-field tackle.
Marcum acknowledged that having the backup quarterback play special teams isn't typical: "But Drew is an athletic kid, and he made some nice plays."
So much for the pass rush: The Storm expected DL Jermaine Smith to pay immediate dividends, but the pass rush struggled against the Talons. The Storm did get pressure on QB Justin Allgood but didn't record a sack. The Talons expected a heavy rush and countered with short-drop passes.
"They did a nice job with three-step and hot one-step drops, which gave us trouble," Marcum said. "They didn't do much five-(step drops) until the fourth (quarter), when we did get some good pressure."
Second fiddles: Marcum may have been most upset with his secondary, which he expected to be strong coming out of training camp. Allgood finished 26-of-36 for 274 yards and eight touchdowns.
"I was very disappointed with the secondary," Marcum said. "They did some really good things in the exhibition game against Orlando (last month), and I thought it would be a strength of the team.
"They just flat out didn't make some plays and got licked pretty good."
Timmons stays hot: Bay area product Tyrone Timmons (Tampa Bay Tech) picked up where he left off in the 2008 season. After catching 13 touchdown passes in the final five games, Timmons opened 2010 with 11 catches for 181 yards and five touchdowns.
Jet Lag: The Talons, playing in their first AFL game after a decade in AFL2, Arena's developmental league, appeared more energetic at the start of the game and seemed to take the early part of it to the Storm.
"They were fired up, and we weren't," Marcum said. "They were flying to the ball. I don't know if we were a little overconfident or what."
The loss dropped the Storm's record on opening day to 14-9.